8 items from 2014
I was glued to the Twitter application of my iPhone Sunday night waiting for the reactions to Bennett Miller's "Foxcatcher" to roll in as the film bowed in Competition at the Cannes Film Festival. It was interesting to watch the first wave of knee-jerks, all of them just a touch muted, I assume because Miller is not a filmmaker whose movies hit you right away. They kind of seep into you the more you spin away from them, and I got the feeling "Foxcatcher" is absolutely one such example. We were all more or less expecting something special out of Steve Carell here. From photos and that early trailer that slipped out last fall, it was clear he had undergone a transformation for the role of multimillionaire murderer John du Pont, both physically and professionally. And indeed, all indications are that it is a career-altering portrayal. Here's one juicy »
- Kristopher Tapley
Wally Pfister recently made the move from Dp to Director, with his sci-fi film Transcendence. As Cinematographer, he has notched up an impressive body of work, shooting Christopher Nolan’s entire output (apart from Following) as well as the rightly admired Moneyball and Transcendence is beautifully shot, if nothing else.
But directorial debuts can be a tricky business, even where the director in question has plenty of background in film-making. Take David Goyer for example – fantastic writer, but steps into the director’s chair for Blade Trinity and kills the franchise stone dead. Jan De Bont, by comparison, shot Die Hard, The Hunt for Red October and Black Rain, before directing Speed to pretty much universal acclaim. Sure, his follow up efforts have tanked, but his debut was a corker.
Here are six of the best directorial debuts.
1. Charles Laughton – Night of the Hunter
It is an enduring mystery and »
- Dave Roper
This cautionary tale of artificial intelligence suffers from telling an overly familiar story, while the life drains out of 'digitized Oz' Johnny Depp
One of the things that tell us that Johnny Depp has ascended to the first rank of movie stars is that he gets to speak in his own peculiar, hybridised accent. A lot of movie actors from the Golden era forged their own unique vocal patents, from Cary Grants transatlantic mockney to Kate Hepburns high society bray; towards the end of his career, Brando slipped in and out of the British accent he first perfected for Mutiny on the Bounty as if donning a favored pair of slippers. Depp, ever the Brando fan, seems to be following similar course. In his new movie Transcendence, which was directed by Christopher Nolans cinematographer Wally Pfister, and produced by Nolan, Depp plays Dr Will Castor, a rockstar AI scientist with tortoise-shell glasses, »
- Tom Shone
The 85-year history of the Academy Awards is rife with statistical oddities, and one that has the potential to play out this Sunday is among the most intriguing: a split between the films that win Best Picture and Best Director.
Though conventional wisdom has long held that only one film will walk away with both prizes on Oscar night, many pundits are predicting that the awards will instead go to two different movies this year, with "Gravity" director Alfonso Cuaron expected to snag the Best Director statuette, while "12 Years a Slave" (or "American Hustle," depending on where your loyalties lie) is the favorite to win Best Picture.
While such a split has occurred just 22 times since the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences started handing out trophies in 1929, four of the first five ceremonies produced a divide between the Best Director and Best Picture prizes. "Wings," dubbed the original »
- Katie Roberts
Seasons of Bette. Episode 2. Nomination #1
As a sidebar to Anne Marie's "A Year With Kate" series (which I hope you're all enjoying as much as I am - see why I comissioned it?), I'm investigating each of Bette Davis's Oscar nominated performances as they appear within the Katharine Hepburn timeline. They're the two titan actresses of Old Hollywood so why not pair them even if indirectly? We previously looked at Of Human Bondage (1934) due to its write-in votes at the Oscars but technically-speaking Nomination #1 arrived the following year in Dangerous (1935).
This second Oscar hopeful is so like the first it's as if someone yelled "Do over! And get the nomination this time."
- NATHANIEL R
Amazon has two great deals going on right now for a couple of impressive Blu-ray collections. The first is the Bond 50: The Complete 23 Film Collection, which also includes Skyfall along with over 120 hours of extras, including "World of Bond", "Being Bond", "Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style" and "Skyfall Videoblogs" for only $119.99, which is 60% off the $300 list price. This week's deal also includes three HD digital copies of past Bond movies. If you're interested, click here to buy it. Next is the Best of Warner Bros 50 Film Collection, which includes the following 50 titles along with Ultraviolet digital copies of each with the * noting Best Picture winners. Grand Hotel* (1932) Mutiny on the Bounty* (1935) Wizard of Oz (1939) Gone with The Wind* (1939) Maltese Falcon, The (1941) Mrs. Miniver* (1942) Casablanca* (1942) Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948) Streetcar Named Desire, A (1951) American in Paris, An* (1951) Singin' in the Rain (1952) Gigi* (1958) North By Northwest (1959) Ben-Hur »
- Brad Brevet
Clark Gable really was the King of Hollywood in the 1930s, starring in three Best Picture winners: "It Happened One Night" (1934), "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935) and "Gone With the Wind" (1939). But which of these films won him his only Best Actor Oscar? Think you know the answer? Then take our quiz below. The rest of the questions aren't as easy as this one unless you are a real Oscar buff. When you are finished, take more quizzes here and see if you can reign as our ultimate kudos quiz champ. One of our posters -- jscanc24 -- has a perfect track record, getting all 127 questions correct. And two posters -- James Sanchez and aminamin -- have missed just one apiece. Check out the full list of our leading achievers. Where do you rank on our leaderboard? -Break- -Insertquiz- »
Miscasting in films has always been a problem. A producer hires an actor thinking that he or she is perfect for a movie role only to find the opposite is true. Other times a star is hired for his box office draw but ruins an otherwise good movie because he looks completely out of place.
There have been many humdinger miscastings. You only have to laugh at John Wayne’s Genghis Khan (with Mongol moustache and gun-belt) in The Conqueror (1956), giggle at Marlon Brando’s woeful upper class twang as Fletcher Christian in Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) and cringe at Dick Van Dyke’s misbegotten cockney accent in Mary Poppins (1964). But as hilarious as these miscastings are, producers at the time didn’t think the same way, until after the event. At least they add a bit of camp value to a mediocre or downright awful movie.
In rare cases, »
8 items from 2014
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